The Summer Wives is about a girl, Miranda, whose single mother marries into one of the wealthiest families on Winthrop Island off the New England Coast. Like most wealthy families and most islands, the Fishers and those on Winthrop Island have their secrets. Set in multiple time periods and told from multiple viewpoints, Miranda’s story unfolds as she uncovers those secrets, learns who she can and cannot trust and falls in love. When her first summer on the island ends in a substantial bout of drama, Miranda’s forced to move on, banished from the island, and to figure out who she is before she dares to set foot back on the island 18 years later.
The Book of Essie is about 17 year old, Essie Hicks, reality TV star from her family’s show, Six for Hicks. Essie’s family, lead by her evangelical pastor of a father, has been followed by the media for years, and when Essie turns up pregnant, they have to decide how to handle a PR nightmare that could cost them the fortune they’ve made from living such publicly conservative lives. Essie seeks out a plan of her own in Roarke Richards, a senior at her school and fellow secret-hider. Together, the two search for answers, safety and the lives they truly want to live.
For One More Day is about Charles “Chick” Benetto, a product of a divorce, forced to choose between his mom and dad. His thirst for his father’s love leads him to baseball where he has a very short, very successful stint before getting injured, falling into a deep depression, surrendering to alcoholism and, eventually, attempting to end his life. Within the attempt, he enters the space between life and death where he spends one more day with his deceased mother and gets the chance to tie up loose ends and make wrongs right before living to tell about his experience.
You can’t read two books in a trilogy and not the third, so this next book was a search for closure for me. Jojo Moyes captivated me, like many others, with Me Before You. I gave it a 4.5 and was so excited when book two, After You, came out, but disappointed once I read it. It wasn’t going to get better than Me Before You, and I should have known that, but still, I needed to see Louisa Clark’s story out to the end, so I landed here for book 21.
This next one was my June Book of the Month choice and, fun fact, it was also my 100th book since I got married in September of 2014. (I celebrated by buying a book today.) I’m drawn to memoirs and needed a light read after the last couple of topics I was getting stuck on and this one delivered.
Sing, Unburied, Sing is about the struggle to navigate rites of passage amidst varying family and racial dynamics. Jojo, age 13, is becoming a man as his black grandfather helps raise him, his white father is released from prison, his white grandfather refuses to acknowledge his existence and the spirits of important deceased men pay him visits. Meanwhile, his black mom can’t seem to put her children above her drug addiction, his black grandmother is dying of cancer and he’s forced to take care of his little sister, Kayla. It’s a story of generational poverty wrapped up in a time when racial tensions still ran strong in Mississippi.
Just Mercy opened my eyes to the massive injustices within the criminal justice system. It made me mad, frustrated and sad that we live in a world where it’s better to be guilty and wealthy than innocent and poor. I highly recommend reading this book.
After committing a felony in 1993, Kerman was convicted of money-laundering charges five years later and sentenced to 15 months in prison five years after conviction. Having already dramatically turned her life around, she pleaded guilty and served 13 months in the minimum security prison for female inmates. Her memoir details her time in prison from her relationships with new and old friends to the basics of what prison life is like.
In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine mentions Elie Wiesel’s Night, and speaks of the power it held for her, the first time she could truly relate to someone. I was incredibly impacted by Clemantine’s story, so in order to better understand it, I wanted to go back and read Elie’s story. I quickly understood why this short, memoir style account of a Jew in Nazi Germany is so often required reading in high school curriculum.
This is the story of a child living in beautiful Burundi, pre-civil war, innocent, happy and culturally content. And then it’s the story of a child forced to grow up to soon – forced to protect his family and neighborhood, to witness violence and war, to flee and to find peace in his identity and his relationship with his country.